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Twsbi Diamond 530, Medium Nib


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63 replies to this topic

#1 dizzypen

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 18:31

The full version of this review along with all my others can be found at The Dizzy Pen.



First Impressions

I loved the very idea of this pen, so when I was finally able to get my grubby little paws on one I was ecstatic.

I was impressed my everything about this pen from the packaging to the pen itself.

I’m not the biggest fan of demonstrator pens, but the TWSBI changed that for me.

Everything about this pen was well thoughtout from the design to the writing experience. Speedy and all those involved with TWSBI did a fabulous job on this pen. Two thumbs way way up here!

Appearance

This pen is gorgeous. From the clear PC to the facets in the barrel to the red TWSBI emblem on the cap end.

I can certainly see why this pen won a design award. This is one of the best looking modern fountain pen designs that was recently come on the market so far as I’m concerned.

Design/Size/Weight

As you might also know from spending any amount of time at FPN we are in love with this pen. Then again, how could we not be? We helped design it. It’s kind of like getting a custom pen, except it’s a fraction of the price!

TWSBI and gang are still making some changes to the design. Version 1.5 of the piston seal is now out. In the coming months we should expect the 530 to be available in many other colors. There should also be a solid black 530 down the line.

Another fun aspect of this design is that it can be completely disassembled and reassembled by the user. The pen is shipped with a piston tool and a bottle of silicone grease. I can tell you from experience that it is very easy to take apart. But be forewarned, if you completely break the pen down you may have some problems getting it back together. Speedy has posted a YouTube video to help us with the reassembly. Study the video carefully. You’ll save yourself a lot of time.

YouTube Video (Note the mood music! LOL)

This pen feels substantial in the hand. It is 5 5/8” capped, 5 1/8” uncapped, and 6 7/8” posted. Yes, the cap does post securely, but be forewarned, it posts on to the piston knob. If you twist the cap as you are trying to pull it off the end of the pen you will actuate the piston. This may very well lead to an inky disaster. I personally, wouldn’t post this pen, but it’s up to you. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

I don’t post any of my pens unless they are too short to use without the cap on the other end. The cap on the Diamond 530 is pretty heavy. In my opinion, it throws the balance off if you post it. You be the judge. Some folks like their pens a little back-heavy. By the way, the Diamond 530 weights in at 27 grams inked.

Nib

These pens, like almost every modern fountain pen on the market today, uses nibs and feeds sourced from Germany. There are only a few nib companies, and TWSBI has used Schmidt nib assemblies here.

The 530 ships with a rather stiff stainless steel nib that comes in either XF, F, or M. There is a little spring in the nib if you try for it. It makes for a pleasant writing experience. There are other nib sizes in the works including gold nibs, titanium nibs, stubs, italics, and flexible nibs! I personally can’t wait to see what they put out.

I chose a M nib for my pen, and I can’t be happier. When I first got it the nib was a little scratchy. These nibs do require a writing in period. My nib adjusted itself after I wrote out the first fill. It’s been perfect ever since.

Filling System

The main feature for this pen is its piston filling system. This pen takes bottled ink only.

The first run had a bit of an issue with the pistons leaking. This was something that slipped past the quality control tests. Speedy sent out a statement about the problem and offered a solution for it before we even had a chance to complain. He also took responsibility for missing the issue and promised to fix it as quickly as he could.

Thought it took a bit of time. The replacement piston seals are now out. They are referred to as version 1.5. Anyone who bought a first run TWSBI should have received one automatically. If you did not, you should contact TWSBI.

Let me just say here that this is customer service at its finest. Normally you’d have to complain before a company even admitting that the problem was theirs not yours. TWSBI is a class outfit, and they’ve certainly earned my trust!

Any TWSBI Diamond 530 you purchase from the ebay outlet or TWSBI direct will be shipped with a replacement 1.5 piston seal. I’ve installed my 1.5 and I can tell you that I haven’t had any leaking issues since.

The piston on this pen functions flawlessly and smoothly.

Cost and Value


The TWSBI is $39.99 plus shipping. Now, let’s be clear here. For $40 you get a m800 sized piston filling demonstrator fountain pen with a decent nib. For $40 you get a pen you can completely disassemble on your own. For $40 you get a gorgeous pen from a company that stands behind its products.

Honestly, I don’t know how you get a better value on a brand new pen.

Conclusion (9.9/10, A/A+)

I’ve used this pen almost everyday since I got it back in early July. I can say without a doubt that I LOVE this pen.

Two thumps up for TWSBI. Keep up the great work.

No Affil.

Edited by dizzypen, 07 October 2010 - 03:20.

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#2 Signum1

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 19:52

I just receive this pen, recently. It uses a number #5 nib from the pen kit world. Overall, I'm pretty impressed with the value delivered at this price point. Now, I'm waiting for the other TWSBI pen that is similar to the Custom 823. :)
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#3 Treecat

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 21:27

What attracts me most about the Twisbi is how Speedy & Co. kept in touch with the community while developing it, taking ideas from everyone and keeping us in touch with how it was going. It does feel like a FPN community project. I have a couple of other things I want ahead of the Twisbi, but I do want to get one, especially to support such a great company.

Thanks for the review and thanks for the very good photos on your blog. :)

#4 Hennypenny

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 23:42

Good review! As you say, this pen is a great value! One thing I particularly like about it is that I can carry it around strapped to my To Do list and thrown in my purse, without worrying about scratching it or losing it - if it gets scratched or lost, so be it! And it's a ready writer for my to do items - doesn't dry out between notes.

Originally, it reminded me of Levenger True Writers in terms of quality. But I think it's a step up from that -- very functional and sturdy. HP
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#5 777

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 12:20

Can't wait to get my own TWSBI! I'm in the middle of a looooong move right now so maybe when I settle in...

Awesome review "dizzypen"! Also, I just noticed you finally got your drawing of a "dizzypen" for your avatar. Who was the artist? It looks great!

Need a pen repaired or a nib re-ground? I'd love to help you out.


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#6 dizzypen

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 16:35

Awesome review "dizzypen"! Also, I just noticed you finally got your drawing of a "dizzypen" for your avatar. Who was the artist? It looks great!


Thanks!

The drawing was done by a student of FPN member "watch_art". I don't know much about her other than she does a great cartoon. I hope to be able to do a post on her in the future, but I need to get her permission...
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#7 Northwoods

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 21:31

Mine just arrived today and I'll concur with pretty much everything. This is a good, solid, well made pen that writes beautifully and should disappoint nobody. At this price-point, it is an outstanding pen, that will leave you floored.

#8 OiRogers

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 22:16

I have one of the early (first 300 ordered I think) pens... price : value ratio is outstanding. Solid body feel and a piston for 40$?... Sold. The nib on mine has proven to be firm like almost any other modern nib... being steel isn't an issue to me... 14k and 18k and 21k nibs these days tend to write just as smoothly and be just as firm.

I compare the pen very favorably to the Pelikan 800 series. I look forward to other color options and expanded nib options. I can see myself buying several more.

Mine did finally develop a tiny leak after multiple fillings, but I have the piston refit in my parts box and I'll put it in the next time I run the pen dry.

Of the modern pen options out there, this is on my very, very short list of pens I recommend to pretty much anyone.

#9 Frank_Federalist_Pens

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 22:28

Great review Dizzypen! I just got this pen at NYC myself over the weekend.
It is an amazing pen, and a great value!

Frank

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Edited by Frankiex, 19 October 2010 - 03:57.

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#10 79spitfire

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 02:25

Great review, and yes, it's an awesome pen! This pen could sell for double and still be a bargain

There! I said it! Get one now before Speedy figures it out!

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#11 kushbaby

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 02:33

I have one of the early (first 300 ordered I think) pens... price : value ratio is outstanding. Solid body feel and a piston for 40$?... Sold. The nib on mine has proven to be firm like almost any other modern nib... being steel isn't an issue to me... 14k and 18k and 21k nibs these days tend to write just as smoothly and be just as firm.

I compare the pen very favorably to the Pelikan 800 series. I look forward to other color options and expanded nib options. I can see myself buying several more.

Mine did finally develop a tiny leak after multiple fillings, but I have the piston refit in my parts box and I'll put it in the next time I run the pen dry.

Of the modern pen options out there, this is on my very, very short list of pens I recommend to pretty much anyone.


I've got to echo these comments. I have two of the earliest ones - a M and an EF. I ADORE them - use them all the time. I also agree they compare very favorably to Pelikan M800s. I love Pelikans, and I have several M800s, but this certainly competes... :thumbup:

I plan on getting more when/if the titanium nib option becomes available. :cloud9:
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#12 WendyNC

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 02:48

Thanks for this review. If it's dizzypen approved, it's good by me. So, "get Twsbi" is now on the to-do list (although I may wait for the stub).
I came here for the pictures and stayed for the conversation.

#13 cocojj

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 06:14

I just got mine today. Unfortunately, the silicon grease that came with the pen took a spill in the case in transit but there's still a small amount left.

Still playing with the pen, just dipped it to test as I left the ink I want to use at home. The EF nib is slightly fatter than I expected (this opinion may change once I've actually "loaded" it with ink), but quite smooth with just the right amount of feedback. The pen itself feels solid and well-designed, it's bigger in person than it looks in the photos. As the others have said, I doubt I can buy another pen nearly as nice as this for the price I paid for it. Definitely great value for the money! :thumbup:

Update: I've filled the pen with Diamine Damson and to me the line width is comparable to my Japanese fines. I'm a happy camper. :cloud9:

Edited by cocojj, 20 October 2010 - 03:43.


#14 woffle

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 16:34

Nice review! I don't usually like demonstrators either but for some reason I really like this one. This is definitely going to be the next pen i get.

#15 dcwaites

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 01:04

I got one of the 300 first batch, and have been using mine regularly since.

Matters arising from your review --

1) It is easier if you don't take the piston rod out of the assembly when you disassemble the pen to replace the washer. Otherwise you will be disassembling, turning the blind cap 1/2 turn and re-assembling until you get the piston movement right again. Hint, the piston should move a tad over 2 cm (2.1~2.2 cm ) from bottom to top if you have it set properly.

2) I assume the nibs are just being assembled into the pens straight from the factory, without any adjustment by the TWSBI people. For the price, this is fair. Spending time to adjust each nib would add $10~$20 to the cost. From reading people's comments (including yours, Dizzy) and looking at my own nib, I think that at least some nibs have their tines a little out of alignment. When I disassembled my pen, I took the nib out of its housing and looked at it with a loupe. The tines were a tiny bit out of alignment. A little adjustment via the thumbnails had them in line. After putting it back together, my $40 TWSBI Fine now writes as nicely as my $70 Sailor Procolor 500 Medium.

Matters arising from my own experience

1) When taking the nib out of its housing for tine adjustment, take care putting it back in, otherwise it won't line up with the clip when you put the cap back on. As you put it back in, you can feel a little dent in plastic of the housing. The nib should go there. Alternatively, you could put a little slip of sticky tape where the nib should line up, BEFORE you take it out...



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#16 Lsarios

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 18:54

I just paid $40 for a Lamy Al-star! Wish I had read this first! Oh well I guess one more pen won't hurt!

Edited by Lsarios, 20 October 2010 - 19:26.

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#17 1000km

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 17:23

Anybody know when these will be available in black? A 14K gold nib option would also be appreciated.

Edited by 1000km, 21 October 2010 - 17:24.


#18 Delphideo

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 18:01

I also have to say thanks for the review. I really want to buy one of these pens, but I'll wait for the italic/stub italic nibs to come out. In the meantime I'll suffer.
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#19 John Cullen

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 18:14

From other posts it sounds like the black one is still a few months off. j

#20 RayOski1

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 00:53

I got this in XF, F and M nib. M is perfect. Holds a surprising amount of ink.






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